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10 MIN READ

Click and collect is a fundamental part of the omnichannel ecosystem and a great addition for eCommerce retailers to add to their strategy. Giving your customers the best possible click and collect experience is extremely important as it’s becoming a more popular choice for consumers. Data from analytics company Global Data has found that the UK click and collect market is set to rise to £9.8 billion by 2023, increasing by 45.8%. 

Offering click and collect adds a personable touch-point for your customers and an extra opportunity to delight them with great service. It’s not just for retailers, either. B2B and distribution companies are also making the most of it by offering collections from trade counters and warehouses for their customers. 

Getting your click and collect offering right will help you delight and retain customers, boost sales and create memorable shopping experiences.

Jump to: 

Initial considerations

How to improve your click and collect

Click and collect is great for business 

The click and collect experience is convenient for customers. Through fast fulfilment, some retailers are able to process these orders for same-day collection. It also combats failed delivery attempts which aren’t conducive to providing a great customer experience, while also being more environmentally sound than delivery is often considered. Offering in-store click and collect is also a great way to boost sales with upselling and cross-selling once you have the footfall.

Initial considerations 

In order to give your customers a great click and collect experience, you need an efficient process in place to help you deliver on this. Here are some of the things you’ll need to consider and plan for when it comes to offering in-store click and collect. 

Types of click and collect service 

You’ll need to decide what kind of click and collect service you want to provide; whether that’s buying online to collect later, or reserve online and buy in-store. There are pros and cons to both, so finding what works best for your company is key. Buying online to collect later guarantees the sale. Click and reserve speeds up the checkout process for customers, but can run the risk of customers potentially not showing up to collect as money hasn’t yet been exchanged. 

Stock fulfilment 

How will you fulfil your click and collect orders? Consider where your stock is coming from for fulfilling your collection orders. Will your goods need to be shipped from a centralised location, or are they kept in-store? If they need to be delivered to your store, make sure you account for shipping times when giving customers a collection date. 

If you’re dealing with store stock, you’ll be able to fulfil these orders much faster. This is an even better opportunity to wow your customers by offering same-day collection where possible. Of course, it doesn’t have to be one or the other and many retailers will be dealing with a combination of the two. Ensure products display the correct fulfilment options at the checkout for customers to choose from (more on this later!) 

 

Managing multi-channel returns 

Customers expect to be able to interact with your brand via a variety of touchpoints that fit their lifestyles. Whether that’s in-store, email, social media, on the phone or through live chat. The same goes for returns and customers won’t want to see restrictions to multi-channel returns, so it’s important to factor this in when considering your click and collect process. 

 

How will click and collect items be returned? Customers will expect to be able to return click and collect orders to store, via post or even different stores if you have multiple sites. If you do have restrictions, make sure these are communicated to your customers to avoid any negative experiences further down the line! 

 

An efficient eCommerce platform

Using an eCommerce platform that supports your entire retail operation including everything you need to manage click and collect orders is vital. Choose an eCommerce platform that keeps stock levels up to date in real-time across your entire business. You can also consider integrating your eCommerce platform with your top suppliers, this way you can list items as available to purchase based on your supplier’s stock levels rather than what you physically have in stock. Rather than listing these products as available to dispatch straight away, you can display a dispatch date based on how long the supplier will take to deliver the items to you. 

Improving the in-store click and collect experience 

Assign an in-store collection area 

Okay, this might be difficult if you’re dealing with limited space on your shop floor but if you can accommodate a designated area for click and collect, it’s a good move to do so. This can help boost sales through clever positioning next to popular or sales items. Your customers will also feel extra special having their own area to collect rather than joining the general checkout queue which could slow down their experience. 

Make sure customers can find it 

Regardless of whether you have a designated area for click and collect, or you’re doubling up your checkout – you need to ensure customers can find it easily. The chances are, they’ve chosen click and collect as it’s a super quick and convenient way to get their order, so wandering around your shop isn’t going to give them the best click and collect experience. 

Be loud and clear on where click and collect orders are ready and waiting to be picked up. Clear and attention-grabbing signage also works as an advert for other shoppers to use this service for their future purchases. 

Integrate with mobile 

Mobile eCommerce is growing and mobile experiences are more important than ever before for customers. A fantastic mobile click and collect experience can really set you apart from your competitors. 

Customers should be able to place click and collect orders via your mobile site, or mobile app with ease. Make use of device features like location GPS so you can identify local stores and present stock availability. Use mobile notifications like text, or push notifications for app users to keep customers up to date on the progress of their click and collect orders. 

Mobile and digital payments are incredibly popular payment choices right now. Offering these both online and at point of collection are a vital element to include in the click and collect experience. 

Give customers a choice of collection location

Click and collect has been a competitive advantage for multichannel retailers. However, with the rise in popularity of click and collect, we’ve seen an increase in eCommerce only companies appealing to these shoppers by using collect plus locations and lockers. Consider making these a part of your strategy too. 

They add another layer of convenience for those who may be too far away or not able to make it into your store. Local lockers and collect plus locations can typically be found in petrol stations, supermarkets or local express stores. The kind of places people visit more regularly or when commuting home, for example. 

Notification process 

Keep your customers up to date with the progress of their order at every step of its journey. This is just as important for click and collect as it is for delivery orders. You can use a variety of channels for keeping them in the know. With mobile use text and for apps, push notifications are a great way to stay connected. Partner these with email notifications too on the progress. 

Ensure that these communications include the vital information the customer will need to collect their order. Include things like what balance is due to be paid (if reserved), order number, your store or collection point’s opening hours, what ID they might need to bring, and how long their order will be held for. Follow up with reminders if they’ve not yet collected as the deadline approaches to avoid uncollected orders. If they do miss collection, use a notification to let them know it’s being sent back and the next steps for refunding them. 

Train your in-store team

To give your customers the very best click and collect experience possible, your team on the shop floor will need to give seamless service. For them to do this, they’ll need to be fully trained on the click and collect process. Empowered with this knowledge, they can make sure the customer’s journey is efficient and quick. Speedy service is so important – keep in mind that customers shouldn’t be waiting longer for click and collect orders than if just buying from your store!

Optimise the click and collect area 

When thinking about the layout of your click and collect area, there are a few things you can do to optimise the space. This doesn’t really matter if it’s a designated space or at your normal till bank. Think about what additional products you can keep close to this area that are more likely to inspire an additional purchase for click and collect customers and boost sales. In fact, a total of 39.2% of people purchased additional items when in-store collecting their order. 

 

The same research also found that clothing and footwear are the most popular items for click and collect, accounting for 59.5% of click and collect spend in 2018. For those of you in this sector, consider implementing nearby fitting rooms will give customers wanting to try items on before taking them home. This way, if there is a problem they can exchange or send back without the need to return to a store at a later date. You can also provide seated areas if you sell a lot of footwear, for example, so people can quickly try items on instore should they need further assistance. 

 

Display additional, smaller purchase items by the click and collect areas. People are most likely not wanting to make another big purchase when coming to collect an online order, but lower ticket items are a great way to boost sales. You can plan these out to be relevant to the highest ordered items you have come through for click and collect to appeal to more people. 

 

Another fantastic addition to click and collect areas are gifting products. Gift cards are great to display near till banks – appealing to people who may have forgotten something whilst shopping and not wanting to go back, or easy add-ons for presents.

You may want to think about including things like gift wrap, tags and cards here too for people to pick up with their orders. This is especially effective during seasonal events so you can plan themes out; Easter, Mother’s and Father’s Days, and Christmas for example. Appeal to people all year round by providing birthday and ‘blank’ supplies here, too. 

Real-time stock checker 

When placing their order, customers will benefit from a real-time view of stock. This enables them to check stock levels for your stores so they can make an informed decision on where to place the order for collection from. An efficient, cloud-based eCommerce platform will help you deliver this service to your customers by updating stock in real-time across your stores, website, and app at all times. 

With this, make sure that relevant fulfilment options are also available to see. Don’t let your customer’s get all the way to the checkout page to only then see that the items they want to order for click and collect aren’t available, or eligible.

Final thoughts 

Customer expectations are higher than ever before. As is the pressure for retailers to meet these demands in order to stay competitive. Putting a solid click and collect process in place will serve as an important part of your omnichannel strategy. Getting the basics right will give you the foundations for building the best click and collect experiences possible for your customers. 

Click and collect is a great physical touchpoint to add to your eCommerce offering that can help boost sales and retain customers, building a loyal base of shoppers. If you’re looking for an eCommerce platform that can help you deliver on this, scaling with you as you grow, look no further. Get in touch today for a demo.

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Charlotte McKee
10th March 2020

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